It is the moment of truth. Your face mask comes off at the restaurant, or an important office meeting, only to reveal an unfortunate palette of foundation and lipstick on the often white interior.
Your morning routine of carefully defined contours, blush and Ariana Grande-worthy lip gloss are probably smudged as well – all of this congregating to create challenging conditions for beloved makeup looks to survive and remain flawless throughout the day.
With the pandemic, many of us changed our customary make-up looks to accommodate the essential need for masks - applying light foundation bases, and sometimes skipping the lip routine entirely. Aishaa Khan, Dubai-based makeup artist and Instagram influencer (@makeupbyaishaa), recounts the shift to mask-proof makeup that she had noticed: “We have gravitated more towards natural makeup that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, swapping products with heavier textures over to lighter ones. Tinted moisturizers with SPF have replaced cream-based foundations, and concealers are used for spot concealing and for more coverage.”
We have gravitated more towards natural makeup that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin, swapping products with heavier textures over to lighter ones. Tinted moisturizers with SPF have replaced cream-based foundations, and concealers are used for spot concealing and for more coverage.
A reason for this was the appearance of ‘Maskne’ or acne that develops due to friction with masks. Dr Suzana Borba Roncaglia, specialist dermatologist at Abu Dhabi-based Sno Bodyworx, and Healthbay Clinic, Dubai, says, “Other conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis and rosacea have also had more flare ups with the constant use of masks.
“There’s a skin reaction called Perioral dermatitis which has been occurring more frequently and may trick patients into thinking it is acne but it’s a different condition.” She adds that it appears as acne with a rash underneath, and would require consultation with a dermatologist for proper treatment.
Nevertheless, full-face makeup can be such an important and liberating part of daily routines for many – and with masks staying essential parts of our daily lives, it’s crucial to find the balance to keep you looking your happiest self while remaining safe. Gulf News speaks to Dr Roncaglia, Khan and Asma Lootah, UAE-based makeup artist, stylist and Instagram influencer with almost 200,000 followers (@by_asmalootah) as well, for top tips on getting our favourite makeup looks under masks.
1. Skincare solicitude
“A flawless makeup look starts with the right skin prep,” says Khan. During this period, Dr Roncaglia recommends to wash your face regularly with a gentle cleanser, making sure to keep your skin well-moisturised and avoid using any over-the-counter antibiotic or cortisone treatments as they can aggravate skin irritation over time.
Ironically, for your skin – avoiding heavy makeup, and going foundation free some days is best, adds Dr Roncaglia. When using foundation, make sure it is the right one for your skin type – wearing those that are specifically formulated to be non-comodogenic for acne-prone skin.
Ideally using less make-up would be very helpful in preventing these inflammatory skin conditions. If foundation is a must, choose the correct ones for your skin type. Make sure to properly remove all make-up before bedtime.
Choosing the right skincare products can also help with making your makeup last all day. Lootah says, “There are some moisturisers that are sticky, and make the foundation stick and last longer.”
She also recommends products like Vitamin C, chemical exfoliants like AHA and BHA to ensure better texture so that it fades any potential pigmentation as well. She adds, “If your skin is well taken care of, you will not need to put much make-up anyway.”
2. Faint foundations
Shadowed under masks, the less thicker the foundation and powders on your skin, the better.
Khan recommends: “For foundation, opt for a lighter oil-free or water-based formula.”
Some replacement options for your usual foundations are tinted moisturisers, BB creams (with the all-important SPF of course), and CC creams, paired with concealers dabbed on lightly for spot correction – combining to give your skin a natural, lit-from-within look without too much layering.
If you prefer, and have the option to not wear any makeup, it’s always better not to put any foundation or powder on the face. Just put concealer under the eye, because this is the area that it will show and the concealer will make your face look more awake since it hides the dark circles.
Lootah emphasises the importance of concealer: “If you prefer, and have the option to not wear any makeup, it’s always better not to put any foundation or powder on the face. Just put concealer under the eye, because this is the area that it will show and the concealer will make your face look more awake since it hides the dark circles.”
However, if your foundation is liquid-based with a wet finish, it could transfer onto the mask and could look patchy in certain areas, warns Khan. To avoid this, use a translucent powder and setting spray as key elements of your mask-proof make-up routine.
She says, “Set your makeup, especially the chin and mouth area using a powder puff or a large fluffy brush.”
3. Cream and Powder combo
We love our glowy, glass skin, natural skin looks, but let’s face it - with smudging masks hovering in the picture unfortunately, wet looks are asking for trouble. The same goes for drier looks, with lots of powders.
The solution? Use a cream product first and set it all. Lootah says, “When you set a creamy or liquid product with a powdery product, that will make it more long lasting.” You can set your liquid foundation with loose powder, creamy contour with a powder contour for example.
Do the same for lipsticks, and the best thing is - you don't even have to buy a new one! “Transform your normal lipstick by adding a thin layer of translucent powder with a small fluffy brush, to create a soft velvety matte finish,” recommends Khan.
Cream blushes or cheek tints are better for longevity than powder blushes anyway – but if you you set them with additional powder, they can grace your face all day, giving you a fresh, rosy look.
4. Locked-on lipsticks
Gloss enthusiasts, and Arianators, our time is tenuous. Lootah and Khan recommends staying away from lip-glosses when using masks. “No way, you cannot put it under masks,” says Lootah. Khan agrees, “It gets everywhere.”
Instead, you can go for liquid matte lipsticks or even gentle lip tints, that last all day without marking your masks. They key is to ensure that the product blends into your lips. Lootah recommends: “Just dab a little bit and blend it with your fingers. When you blend it and press it with your fingers, it is more long lasting and will not rub off –just like a tint that sticks on the lips, not like a layer of lipstick.”
5. Bold brows, loud lashes and experimental eyeshadow
When all else is covered, it is time for your eyes to shine.
“Since that’s the only feature that won’t be affected by the mask, accentuate your eyes and brows well. Don’t be scared to go bold!” says Khan.
Lootah shares her personal recommendation: “Usually, what I do is use pencil eyeshadows – that come in pencil form, like big pencils and you just line your upper lashes, and spread it with your fingers. It is even practical for busy moms, or if you are going to work and you don’t have time in the morning.”
For lashes, you can use fake lashes and a good mascara, or even apply a lash serum every night for extra length naturally, Lootah adds.
Dr Roncaglia adds some top tips to prevent skin irriration:
- Make sure to properly remove all makeup before bed-time.
- Toss away disposable masks after one use.
- Take a few breaks from the mask during the day to let the skin-breathe.
Masks and Maskne are not barriers to your favourite makeup looks at all, but rather ways for your beauty look to evolve to nurture your skin under the stresses of the current times. The secret is to find products that adhere to your skin, in a non-comodogenic way but remains dry and set enough for masks not to rub them off entirely. And of course, now masks are their own aesthetic, with a variety of patterns and colours that invite creative exploration of matching beauty looks.